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The early days of the Internet, by today’s standards, were slow and ugly. We had to deal with screeching dial-up modems that would disconnect us from our chat room sessions, because our moms picked up the phone. We had ugly flashing graphics (that weren’t ads, but were actually put there purposely by site owners), but we loved it. We loved the immediacy of it. And a big part of that was AOL Instant Messenger.

Alongside pioneers like ICQ, AIM ushered in a whole new era of fast and convenient real-time conversations with friends and family all around the world. It got even better when ICQ and AIM integrated with one another a few years later. But it’s an end of an era, because AOL Instant Messenger will be signing off one last time in two months.

You may or may not know about Oath, the Verizon subsidiary that owns both America Online and Yahoo. We haven’t been completely sure about the direction that Oath plans on taking moving forward, but it looks like AIM is not going to be part of those plans. In an official statement on Tumblr, Oath VP of Communications Product Michael Albers tells us that AOL Instant Messenger will be officially discontinued as of December 15, 2017.

That’s twenty years of AIM.

AIM was a trailblazer in this space. It was the first to use what it called Away Messages, which are the precursor to the modern day status update. You could explain why you were AFK without having to message each one of your friends individually. But no one really uses it today, so it’s understandable that Oath wants to shut it down.


This isn’t the first time we thought it was over. We thought AIM was dead in 2012 when AOL cut staff at the AIM unit. The instant messenger survived then, but it won’t survive now. If you want to save your chat logs, there’s a FAQ set up to explain the process.

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